The Supreme Court Constitution bench on Wednesday posted on September 27 for deciding the schedule of hearing the plea of the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government’s plea on the contentious issue of who should control administrative services in Delhi over the transfers and postings of officers in the national capital.
A five-judge bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said it will fix the timeline of the case on September 27 and that this will be a complete green bench and there will be no papers in this matter.
“Don’t circulate any paper compilations. We want this bench to be a green bench,” Justice Chandrachud said. “In the meantime, it is anticipated that proceedings before Chief Justice of India-led Constitution bench likely to conclude. In case the hearing in CJI court spills over this case will be listed on October 11,” the bench said also comprising Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha.
The top court said to make counsels acquainted with technology in the legal proceedings, training would be conducted over the weekend. The Registry is to make soft copies of all documents and provide them to the Centre and Delhi government.
The bench to decide the legal issue concerning the scope of legislative and executive powers of the Centre and Delhi government over control of services in the national capital.
The case was slated to be heard by a Constitution bench after a three-judge bench had in May this year decided to send it to a larger bench on a request by the Central government. On February 14, 2019, a two-judge Bench of the top court delivered a split verdict on the question of powers of the GNCTD and Union government over services and referred the matter to a three-judge Bench.
While Justice Ashok Bhushan had ruled the Delhi government has no power at all over administrative services. Justice AK Sikri, however, had said the transfer or posting of officers in top echelons of the bureaucracy (joint director and above) could only be done by the Central government and the view of the lieutenant governor would prevail in case of a difference of opinion for matters relating to other bureaucrats.
The two-judge bench which was hearing pleas on six matters pertaining to a long-running conflict between the Centre and the Delhi government had given a unanimous order on the remaining five issues except for the control over services.
Governance of the national capital has witnessed a power struggle between the Centre and the Delhi government since the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came to power in 2014.
Prior to February 2019 judgement, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court had on July 4, 2018, laid down the broad parameters for governance of the national capital.
In the landmark verdict, it had unanimously held that Delhi cannot be accorded the status of a state but clipped the powers of the LG saying he has no “independent decision-making power” and has to act on the aid and advice of the elected government.
It had restricted the jurisdiction of the LG to matters pertaining to land, police and public order and on all other matters, it held that the LG would have to act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers.